The 2012 summer continues to be horrendous but, despite this, the Barrowford Show did beat the weather.
Seeing this, I decided to enjoy one of my favourite strolls.
Start from the Heritage Centre, which was the 17th century home of the Banister family. This name has real relevance in Olympic year as Sir Roger Banister was the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. He has visited the former home of his family, which is now a splendid place to visit complete with arts centre, bookshop and cafe. This is the place to find out about the Pendle Witches who met their fate in 1612.
From the Heritage Centre Car park follow Pendle Water upstream and keep the river on the left.
Approach the main road towards Gisburn (A682). Look to the left to see an old mill which was once powered by a waterwheel.
Cross the road and turn right across the bridge. The road climbs steeply through Higherford towards Blacko.
Look out to see the Methodist chapel when young Jimmy Clitheroe first performed.
On the summit is Blacko Hill stands Stansfield Tower. Some books state that this tower was once the home base of the Pendle Witches but this is not true. It was actually a folly built by a grocer called Jonathan Stansfield in 1891. He is said to have built the tower to raise the height of the hill so that he could see the home of his girlfriend in Gisburn. It can’t have worked because they were never married. Look for a sign to the left for Waters Meeting. The footpath descends very steeply and follows the river bank.
Cross a small bridge over the river and turn left. Pass the old tennis club on the right and continue along the obvious track into Higherford. This is just what it once was — a ford before the packhorse bridge was built. It is locally known as the Roman Bridge but it is obviously not so old and dates to the 17th century. In 1748 the bridge was on the main highway and John Wesley once stood on it to deliver a sermon. The vicar of Colne would not let Wesley preach in his church and some of the locals were even more hostile.
Continue to reach the main road and turn right to reach the White Bear.
Cross the main road and go over the footbridge over the river. This leads into Barrowford Park. In the days of steam when lots of water was in demand because of the boilers the site had its lodge close to the cotton mill.
This is now a haven for wildlife and there is a circular walk around it.
Return from the lodge circuit to find Pendle Water to the left. Look down at the weir, which was important when the mill was powered by water. From the weir return to the Heritage Centre.
Take care to enjoy looking at this building and also the Toll House opposite, built in 1803 and now a fascinating part of the museum complex.